Kenneth L. Markle: Sadistic Murderer or Scapegoat?

Kenneth Markle is arguably the most infamous American soldier to have recently served in Korea and is indirectly responsible for the changes to Status of Forces Agreement with the United States military(PDF file).  For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, Markle was accused and convicted of sadistically torturing and murdering a Korean prostitute.  Markle has to this day maintained his innocence and claims he was railroaded by the American government in an effort to appease an anti-American sentiment sweeping through Korea at the time. 

A person claiming to be Markle has made comments on ROKDROP denouncing the blog’s negative portrayal of him.  “Kennet Markle” has declared that if the court transcripts were read we would see that he was innocent yet, despite ROKDROP’s request for him to post them, they have still not surfaced.  I am going to try and do my best to be fair and objective using newspaper articles (English) that provide some of Markle’s testimony.  Unfortunately a lot of these are not on the net but I am providing the names of the newspapers, the article titles and the dates.  Where ever possible I will include the links.  I have seen some of the gory pictures in the past but I am not going to spend my time looking for and linking them – I feel it would be an insult to the victim’s family and, if Markle is innocent, an insult to him as well.  Nor will I put up his picture which graces more than a few newspapers for I don’t feel it is my right to violate his privacy in that manner.

This is what I have managed to gather – Markle if you are reading and find any errors please feel free to comment so that corrections can be made or noted.


On October 28, 1992, Yun Kum-i, 26-years old, was found dead in her small rented room in Tongduchon near the US military camp at about 4:30 in the morning by her landlord.  The walls of the room were splattered with her own blood and she had obviously been bludgeoned.  A picture taken of the crime scene showed “her nude body lying upon a sleeping mat, the left side of her face severely battered and numerous bruises on her chest, arms and legs.”  Her body was covered with a white powder that was later identified as laundry detergent.[1]   The Korean media reported her as having been raped, stabbed, and had been sexually violated with a Coke bottle and an umbrella and that she was a waitress at a local disco club.[1] 

On October 30, 1992,   Pvt2 Kenneth L. Markle III, a 20-year-old medic originally from West Virginia, was arrested by Korean police after he entered a disco where he had been seen with Ms. Yun on the night of her murder.  The staff, recognizing him, had summoned the police, who after taking his statement, turned him over to the American military police. [2]  On November 15, Markle’s lawyer, Park Sung-jin, denounced the newspaper reports that she had been raped and stabbed but did admit she had been sexually assaulted with an umbrella and Coke bottle.[1]  He asserted that the  Korean media had misreported numerous things including the US military being uncooperative, Ms. Yun’s occupation (he identified her as a prostitute) and denied Markle had “confessed to torturing and killing” Ms. Yun.  He acknowledged that Markle had said that he “hit her on the forehead with a Coke bottle.”[1]

The situation was rapidly becoming volatile and USFK issued a statement in mid November that all members of the American community were “truly sorry” about her death and expressed condolences to her family, friends and the Korean community.  A USFK spokesman also noted that a preliminary solatium payment had been made to the family and stressed that a “solatium is money paid as a humanitarian gesture for solace but does not constitute an admission of guilt.[1] These payments were generally about $1,000 for injuries and assaults.[5]

So volatile had become public sentiment that in late November Kim Dae-jung, who was running for president for the third time, felt the need to declare the murder a “very regretable incident” which “many Korean citizens are rightfully angry about.”  He added that “in contrast to similar incidents in the past, I think the U.S. armed forces are handling the case with sensitivity and sincerity.”[3]  Despite Kim DJ’s faith in the US armed forces handling the incident the public’s anti-American sentiment continued to grow.  The main gate at Camp Humphreys in Pyoungtaek, where Markle was being held, was closed in anticipation of a large demonstration of 300-500 university students demanding justice.  The small American Air Force detachment at Kwangju Air Base also braced for a demonstration of 100-300 students. [2]

On November 31, 1992, Markle was indicted for Ms. Yun’s murder.  Prosecutor Kim Jun-gyu remarked that the maximum punishment for murder in Korea was death. [4]  Capital punishment in Korea at this time was carried out by hanging or by firing squad.[6]  Kim would not comment on whether he would seek the death penalty if Markle was convicted. [4]  But there were those demanding his death.  Park Soon-kum, co-chairwoman of an alliance of 49 civic and religious groups, declared that “the pride and dignity of our nation is at stake.  We demand stern punishment.”[5]  The alliance had gathered over 30,000 signatures for their petition to have Markle placed in a Korean prison.

The victim’s family also filed a petition asking for $437,500 as compensation for her death and an additional $125,000 for funeral and other expenses for a total of $562,500.  They claimed the government should compensate them “because the defendant was killed in a cruel crime by a U.S. soldier.”[5]   


Markle, represented by Kim Jong-pyo, had his first hearing on February 17, 1993, in Seoul before a three-judge panel.  His mother and father were also present having been flown in from the United States and provided lodging at the Dragon Hill Lodge all paid for by the US Army.  An Army spokesman said it was being doing “because we feel that is appropriate.”[7][16]  This may have been partially due to Markle’s father stating in an interview a few months prior that he felt his son was “being ignored by the U.S. government.”[7]

Outside the court house about 200 students and protesters chanted and waved banners denouncing the American government and military.[6]  Some of these Anti-American protests are descibed in (Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 1993). 

Inside the packed court house Markle denied he had tortured and killed Ms. Yun.  He insisted that she had attacked him with a Coke bottle and that he was only defending himself when he struck her back.[7]  “I struck her four times, but I’m denying she was dead when I left the room.”[6]  He claimed that he afterwards tried to revive her.  He also denied trying to have sex with her and alluded to another soldier that he said may have been responsible for her death.  He claimed that he and the other soldier had argued over who would take her home.[6]

At Markle’s second hearing on March 10, about 300 students protested in front of the courthouse chanting “Drive out U.S. soldiers to restore national pride” and waving banners demanding a stern punishment for Markle.  According to the  police Ms. Yun’s room was splattered with blood and had been covered with detergent in an apparent effort to destroy evidence and fingerprints.  The victim had been raped and stabbed repeatedly with a bottle. Police and prosecutors said her head was severely battered and there were other wounds on her body.  She had been raped and stabbed repeatedly with a soft drink bottle and a bottle had also been forced into her vagina and an umbrella into her anus.[8][9]  According to  

“Markel shoved in an umbrella into her anus. The umbrella was inserted about 27 cm (about 10 inches) into her anus, almost reaching her rectum. Even that was not enough for Markel, he shoved in 2 beer bottles in Yoon’s womb and the cola bottle was already half inserted. To remove evidence, he broke some fire matches and made her bite them with her mouth, and sprayed white laundry detergent all over her body.”

Markle gave a statement similar to the one he had given at his first hearing but when he testified that he had hit Ms. Yun in self-defense after she had attacked him, the victim’s mother burst into tears and screamed, “Murderer!”  As she was led out of the courtroom dozens of students demanded that she be allowed to stay.  Judge Byun Dong-gul warned that the defendant had the right to defend himself in court and that any further disruptions of the trial by the observers would be punished.[8]

This hearing, however, he appears to have given more information.  For the first time the name of the soldier he suggested might be responsible for her death was mentioned – Spc. Jason Lambert.  According to Markle he watched Lambert enter Ms. Yun’s room after he left.  He also said the Lambert indicated to him that Yun was his girlfriend and was angry that Markle had gone to her room.  Markle claimed he had not known the woman before that night, but saw her staggering drunkenly down a street in the city after he left the club.  He offered to help her get home and she accepted.  He said they were confronted on the street by the soldier he identified as Lamber, who said he knew the woman and would take her home.  Markle said he refused, and Lambert left.   Lambert returned a short time later and demanded that “I come outside and fight him.” Markle said they did fight briefly and when he went back inside the room Yun began slapping and clawing him, inflicting several minor wounds.  He said he took the bottle from her and hit her “only hard enough to make her stop.”  He said she fell to the floor unconscious and bleeding.  He then tried to rouse her, but couldn’t.[9]

According to Markle’s testimony, when he left Ms. Yun was partially clothed – “wearing pants”.  Outside, he said he found Lambert waiting in a nearby alley.  “He said she was a whore and he was going to have sex with her,” Markle testified.  “I told him she was drunk and unconscious and it wouldn’t do any good to go into her room.”  Markle said he watched Lambert enter the room, then left the area, returning to his barracks about 4 a.m.  Asked by his attorney,  Kim Jong-pyo, if he thought someone else had hit the woman Markle answered, “Yes, Lambert.” and then gave several reasons why he believed Lambert was responsible:[9]

1.   “He told his friends he wanted to have sex with her.”

2.  “I watched Lambert go into her room after I left.”

3.  “In his statement (to investigators), he admitted he went to her room 10 minutes after I left.”

4.  “I saw pictures of the scene the way authorities found it and (the room) was not in the same condition as when I left.”

5.  “I saw pictures of the victim’s body, and it was not in the same condition as when I left.”

6.  “Lambert knew the exact condition and location of her body and bragged about it to his friends.”

Prosecuter Kim Jong-ki said Markle had failed a polygraph test and that his statement in court was inconsistent with a written statement he made to Korean police after his arrest.[9] An American military investigator testified as to the results of the polygraph test.  “Overall results indicated that he (Markle) was not truthful.”[10]  Markle countered that he had signed the police statement but it was written in Korean.  “I could not read it and I have no idea what it said.”[9]

The next hearing was held on March 25, 1993 and 22-year-old Spc. Lambert was put on the stand.  Lambert was appraised of Markle’s accusation that he (Lambert) had tortured and murdered Ms. Yun.   When asked if  he was responsible for the brutal activities Lamber declared,  “It was not me.”  Lambert admitted to knowing the victim and of having sex with her several times before the night of her murder.  He said that he left while Markle and the victim were still in the room.[10]

Apparently in Prosecutor Kim Jung-ki’s closing arguments he argued that the “viciousness of the crime” required a life sentence for Markle but this was not viewed favorable by many Koreans.[10]  The Joint Committee for Measures Against the Murder of Yun Kum-i demanded Markle be given the death penalty declaring that  life imprisonment “runs counter to sentiments of the people.”[11]  And in their written statement: “The truth must be determined in full detail and the defendant should be put to death.”[12]


On April 14, 1993, the three-judge panel found Markle guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.  Judge Byon Dong-gul explained the ruling as “The cruel and inhumane nature of the crime warrants that the defendant should be punished severely.  In addition, the defendant showed no sign of repentance during court hearing.”[13]  He also noted that Markle had “taken  no action to make reparation to the victim’s family.” and thus was sentenced so severely.[15]  Judge Byon said Yun bled to death as result of injuries inflicted by Markle and the court had “no legal problem in finding the defendant guilty of murder.”[15]  I am not sure how accurate this is because I have only seen it here, but supposedly Markle’s fingerprints were on a bottle that was inside Ms. Yun.

The Judge did noted that Lambert’s testimony was inconsistent. He “had attempted to hide some facts in the case there is a very slim chance someone else abused the victim” after Markle left the room, “but the fact that Lambert lied does not necessarily mean he was the criminal.”[13][15] 

After hearing the verdict Markle’s father said, “I thought they (the judges) were harsh.  I don’t think they have done enough to try to find the real truth.”[13]  Markle, on the other hand was much more verbose and declared the verdict “complete and utter nonsense” and that his father said he planned to appeal.[14]  

“People say justice is supposed to be blind.  The people who reached this decision are blind.  I am absolutely not guilty of murdering her or of any of the other charges against me.”  The three-judge panel “did not under any circumstance view the case in an unbiased manner.  The protests and demonstration all had a bearing on the decision.”[15]

As the reality of his son’s sentence settled in Markle’s father told the Associated Press, “The kid’s hanging out over there half a world away from anything he knows…he gets himself into some trouble, and the first thing they do is throw the book at him…They don’t ask questions.” He also claimed that the military dropped their investigation prematurely because of personality conflicts between his son and his superiors.  Jim Coles, U.S. Army spokesman in Seoul, denied the accusation and stated it was “A textbook investigation to the letter…It was a thorough and complete investigation.”[16]  It should be noted that the military paid for the defense attorneys, one round trip for the parents and five days in a hotel.

Markle’s parents admitted that their son had clearly done wrong and may be guilty of manslaughter but emphasized that he was not a murderer.[16]  Their efforts to make their case known to all was heroic.  They hired their own lawyers, wrote a letter asking President Bill Clinton for assistance and spent a total of six weeks in Korea (five trips) trying to find leads that might aid their son.[18]  They also appealed the case in Korea.  While waiting for his appeals to finish, Markle was held at Camp Humphrey’s confinement facility.

On August 23, 1993, Ms. Yun’s family received more than 71 million won ($93,889) as compensation from the American government(-not sure if it was solely from the Americans as USFK said in February that the costs would be shared by the Korean and American governments).[17]  It is interesting to note that Yonhap news reported the compensation as being equivalent to $86,000.[21]

In late October Markle’s father was again interviewed and said:  “I don’t think the case has been handled properly by the Korean court, but I understand the court system here is different than ours,” he said.  “We can’t do anything about that.  But the Army has mishandled this and my son has been railroaded from the very beginning.  I do plan to do something about that.  I feel like I’m in a war.  My mission is to make someone listen.  I’m frustrated and disgutsted that things have gone this far without the Army doing anything.”[18]

Among his many charges of ineptness on the military’s part was “prejudice” shown against his son even before he was charged with murder that his father said he believed “carried over into the Army’s investigation.”[18]  Markle echoed this with his own complaints that the Army failed to pursue leads that implicated another soldier – which seems to imply Lambert.[19]  It is interesting to note that, according to an article in Military Law Review Summer 2009 (PDF File), Lieutenant Colonel Kevin M. Boyle, Markle’s defense attorney, said in an interview in 2007 that Markle had covered Ms. Yun’s body with washing detergent under the impression that it was like lye and would help remove traces of evidence.

“That’s all we want, justice,” Mr. Markle said.  “We haven’t found it, yet.  No matter what it costs, I won’t be quiet until we do.”[18]

On November 27, 1993, Markle went before his third session of his appeal.  (Note a lot of this is directly copied or paraphrased from the original article)

In a 40 minute impassioned appeal to the Seoul High Court Markle told the judges “Jason Lambert knows more about this case than he has said.”  Markle began with an apology “to the entire Republic of Korea and, especially to (Yun’s) mother” for his involvement in the crime.  But, he added, “she was alive when I left her room.  I did not have sex with her and did not intend to.  I did not sexually abuse her.  I had only tried to help her.”  In Markle’s earlier trial the lower court had ruled that Yun was too small to present a threat to Markle but according to Markle, the night before her murder, Yun had a fight with Lambert in a bar and that “it took four grown men to restrain her and take her from the bar.”   Markle also claimed, “Her friends nicknamed her ‘Psycho’ and said she had a drug and alcohol problem and became violent when she was drunk.  She weighed 165 pounds, more than I do.  She was not small and fragile.  She was drunk, angry and dangerous.”[20]

The MP reports verified Markle’ story of the fight between Lambert and Yun.  According to it, two Korean policemen and two MPs had to eject Yun from the bar.  Lambert’s clothing as recorded in the report was different from the clothing they obtained when he was requested to give it to the investigators.  Lambert ‘gave them clothes he was not wearing that night,” declared Markle. [20]

Markle also noted that semen found during her autopsy was type A where as Markle’s blood is type O.  Furthermore, the military doctor who conducted the autopsy said that “for semen to remain” where it was found in her body, “it would have had to have been deposited there at or shortly after the time of her death.”[20]

Markle again asserted that Lambert knew more than he was telling.  “Lambert knew her, I didn’t.  Lambert was outside her room when I left.  He told me she was a prostitute who would do anything for money.  He told me he was going in her room to have sex with her.  I watched him go into her room and I left the area.”[20]

“She was alive when I left.  Her neighbor saw me leave her room and heard her groaning long after I left.  That proves someone else was in her room after I left.”[20]

On December 16, 1993, with Korean students yelling “Punish the soldier! Punish the murderer!” and “Protect our right to independence!  Drive the Americans out! Fight until the last American has gone home!”, the Korean court made its decision. [21][22]  Chief Judge Yi Pum-chu spent 20 minutes reading the decision of the three-judge panel through an interpreter whose English was frequently unintelligible to English-speakers in the courtroom.  The judge twice corrected the translation.[22]

Yi said they could not accept any of the reasons Markle had appealed the Seoul District Court conviction.  He said that it was “not reasonable to think another person who came into the room and found the victim bleeding” would have committed any part of the crime.  He also said that a complete review of the district court trial had been made and no errors were found.  The sentence was reduce because the Yun family had been compensated.[22] Also Seattle Times, December 16, 1993.

Markle’s father was happy but not satisfied.  “Obviously (15 years) is better than life, but I don’t like it.  Everything that had to do with the evidence in the case was rejected, but when it came down to paying off the family, the sentence was reduced.  I have a problem with that.”[22]

On April 28, 1994, the Korean Supreme Court upheld the 15-year sentence.   Justice Park Chun-so said Markle “committed the crime deliberately and even perpetrated brutal acts.  In view of the motive, details and means of the crime, the act cannot be regarded as either legitimate or committed in self-defense.”

Korean High court upoholds GI’s 15-year prison term

On April 29 the Korean Supreme Court upheld the sentence.  “It can be confirmed that the defendant deliberately committed the murder and sexually abused the victim’s body, and his actions cannot be taken as the result of excess in self-defense,” the panel declared.  [23][24]  With this final appeal lost Markle was to be handed over to the Korean authorities to serve his time in Chonan.  In a desperate attempt his father  sued the pentagon to keep his son from being transferred but his efforts failed when US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist rejected an emergency petition.  Markle’s father claimed that the American authorities eager to ease tensions in South Korea denied Markle a fair trial.[25]


In mid-May Markle was transferred to Chonan and within a month had written a letter home.  Markle’s father described his son’s life in prison.  “So far there have not been any problems so far with any of the Korean prisoners or the guards.”  Markle’s father said his son’s life had changed dramatically.  “Laundry must be washed by hand.  There is no washing machine.  There is a dryer which does not function.  Laundry is washed, rinsed and rung out by hand, then hung on a line to dry.  We have to supply the clothes pins. ” He also noted that the inmates were only allwed to take hot showers on Sundays.[26]

Markle appears to have been a fairly good prisoner and stayed out of trouble except this one incident which took place on May 5, 1994 when Markle and another prisoner, Richard Duff, became enraged after letters they had written were not sealed and mailed.  According to Markle’s father, “The guards read and censor prisoner’s mail and they had already cleared letters my son and Duff had to mail that day, but, he refused to seal the letters and mail them because he said it was a holiday.” (It was Children’s Day).  The two prisoners, angered, began throwing things at a plexiglass partition, breaking it.  They were subsequently locked up for 57 days in small solitary cells.  “Their wrists and ankles were manacled and their upper arms were tied with ropes that allowed them only enough use of their hands to eat.”[27]

In January 1996, Markle and Duff were given an additional 8 months to his prison sentence (prosecution wanted 15 months) for breaking a plexiglass wall devider and using a fire extinquisher against prison personnel.  Judge Kim Myong-jae said, “The accused clearly violated the rules of the prison” but because they were young and had been soldiers helping to defend South Korea they were given light sentences.[28][29]


In January 2003, Lee So-hee, Secretary-General, National Campaign for Eradication of Crimes by U.S. Troops in Korea, wrote “From ‘liberator’, ‘ally’, and ‘blood brother’ to ‘occupying force’ and ‘source of all evil’could Korean public opinion be split so differently on the issue of the United States? This inevitably means that there must be a concealed and distorted history.” I am not sure about all the facts in her examples but I did notice that her account of Ms. Yun’s murder incorrectly identifies Lambert.

Markle’s conviction has been used as a tool by not only anti-American student activist but by teachers as well.  A Korean middle school teacher,  I won’t give you her name – its in the article (Los Angeles Times July 12, 2003), stated she showed the picture of Ms. Yun’s mutilated body to her students

…”because it was being widely shown on the Internet and at protests as part of the debate over the Status of Forces Agreement, which governs U.S. soldiers in South Korea.  “This is nothing that they couldn’t have seen elsewhere,” said XX, a soft-spoken 29-year-old who hardly looks older than some of her students. “Rather than giving our students canned education, we want to encourage them to think about what is going on in the world.” 


After requesting parole seven times, Markle was finally released on August 14, 2006, when the parole board determined he was not likely to commit another crime.  He was, upon release, put on an airplane and returned to the United States.

 Lost Nomad blogged about Markle’s release (unfortunately that site is gone now) as did ROKDROP (November 20, 2006) which has a very impressive comment section that is still receiving posts.    Just recently (July 27, 2009) someone claiming to be Markle left this post at ROKDROP.

 “…For the record, I didn’t kill ANYONE. I was in the vicinity. Had contact of a non-sexual nature with the young woman and left the area. I do not know who committed the crime. I was identified as being seen with her, was arrested, interrogated and bullied into signing a confession I could not read or understand. Thus, the basis of my conviction. I was 19 years old, scared, alone and helpless. I never had a chance of “proving” anything, let alone my innocence. I’ve made very little noise about the ordeal since I’ve returned to the United States. Believe me, I wanted to. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, file lawsuits, get the media involved… Anything to “prove” I didn’t do it. What good would it do me now? The 14 years are gone. I can live for the future or let the past kill me. I chose the former. That might not be the right choice, but I took some good advice and chose not to let the past dictate my future. I can sleep at night with my choice….” 

I guess it is up to you, the reader, to decide if Markle was truly a cold-blooded and sadistic killer or merely a scapegoat sacraficed to appease anti-American sentiment.


[1] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “U.S. soldier to be charged with murder in ROK,” November 15, 1992

[2] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Seoul moving toward murder indictment of GI,” November 23, 1992

[3] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Stay in S. Korea, Kim says to U.S.,” November 22, 1992

[4] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “ROK Indicts GI for murder,” December 2, 1992

[5] European Stars and Stripes, “Koreans demand stiff sentence for accused GI,” February 16, 1993

[6] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Solder’s murder trial opens amid Seoul protests,” February 19, 1993

[7] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Army Paying to bring parents to GI’s trial,” February 23, 1993

[8] European Stars and Stripes, “Tearful outburst disrupts GI’s trial in S. Korea,” March 11, 1993

[9] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Markle blames another soldier in murder trial,” March 12, 1993

[10] European Stars and Stripes, “Life Term sought for U.S. soldier in South Korean torture slaying,” March 25, 1993
[11] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Korea Protest Group Wants Death For GI,” April 3, 1993

[12] European Stars and Stripes, “Koreans call for soldier’s execution,” April 10, 1993

[13] European Stars and Stripes, “Koreans convict soldier amid anti-U.S. chants,” April 15, 1993

[14] Daily News Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia), April 15, 1993

[15]  Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Markle denies guilt, says South Korean court biased,” April 16, 1993

[16] European Stars and Stripes, “Convicted GI’s dad assails Army Probe,” April 17, 1993

[17] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Victim’s kin get $93,000″, August 29, 1993

[18] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Markle’s father raps Army’s handling of case”, October 31, 1993

[19] European Stars and Stripes, “GI assails Army in murder appeal,” November 26, 1993

[20] Pacific Stars and Stripes, GI pleads for freedom in Seoul,” November 27, 1993

[21] European Stars and Stripes, “Soldier’s life term cut to 15 years,” December 17, 1993

[22] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “ROK court reduces GI’s sentence to 15 years,” December 18, 1993

[23] European Stars and Stripes, “Korean high court upholds GI’s 15-year prison term,” April 30, 1994

[24] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Court upholds Markle prison sentence,” May 1, 1994

[25] European Stars and Stripes, “Father fails to keep GI from prison in S. Korea,” May 17, 1994

[26] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Dad says GI safe in Korean jail,” June 16, 1994

[27] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “US GI may face extra prison time,” December 17, 1995

[28] European Stars and Stripes, “GI’s jail term lengthened,” January 17, 1996

[29] Pacific Stars and Stripes, “Soldier in prison for killing gets additional time for fracas,” January 18, 1996

  • pawikirogii

    seems like you’re trying to make HIM the victim. he’s a convicted murderer and yet, you’re interested in protecting his privacy. too bad Miss Yun doesn’t have any privacy. no, she has her picture on the net with a coke bottle in her private parts.

    please stop trying to excuse a murderer. please stop denigrating MissYun.

  • robert neff

    Nothing like that Pawi – by now you should be aware that I enjoy doing the research into both sides of the story. I was in Korea during this incident and to be honest, I didn’t know that much about it. All of the material I have read on the net merely state the same thing without supporting evidence – and, if you look at some of the links you will see that some of the basic information is wrong.

    I don’t know if he committed the crime or not. All I know is that he was found guilty. As for Ms. Yun – no one deserves to be murdered. As for the picts on the net – I’ll let you guess who most likely uploaded them.

  • pawikirogii

    i know you’re a good man, but trying to protect his identidy when he’s a convicted murderer is a bit much. we don’t need to be fair here; he was convicted and therefore underserving of your protection. how many times have you heard a criminal say he didn’t do it? how many times have you heard a convicted murderer say somebody else did it?

    again, i know you’re a good man but he doesn’t deserve to have the priveledge of dragging Miss Yun’s name through the mud nor does he deserve your protection by refusing to print his picture.

    as for Miss Yun’s picture and who put it there, we wouldn’t have those pictures if he didn’t brutally murder her. you may feel his privacy needs to be protected but i don’t.

    lastly, a word of advice to mr markel: you got off lucky. if you did this in the states you would still be behind bars getting ass raped. i think you need to shut up and show respect to Miss Yun and her family. be silent and live your life with remorse.

  • seoulmilk

    I’m curious to see the court transcripts and evidence introduced. Just going based on what’s written here, it would lead one to suspect that Lambert was the real murderer. However, if the US government was trying to appease the anti-US crowd, why didn’t use Lambert as the scapegoat instead, who appears more guilty based on the above facts? Same with the Korean courts.

  • Sonagi

    too bad Miss Yun doesn’t have any privacy. no, she has her picture on the net with a coke bottle in her private parts.

    And who released those pictures to the public and who put them on the net for kids to see? Who was waving photos of Ms. Yun’s battered body on Chongno St. back in ’93? Hint: It wasn’t anyone affiliated with USFK.

  • pawikirogii

    if lambert did it, why wasn’t he the one put on trial?

  • robert neff

    Seoulmilk – I am curious why I can’t find anything on Lambert. It is a shame that the LostNomad site is down because I could have sworn I read a posting by Lambert there several years ago in which he defended himself against accusations….

    Again Pawi, with respect, I can fully understand your feelings but I would rather not add any pictures. I did, however, provide all the newspaper articles – seeing as Stars and Stripes had the most access to Markle you will find that they have his pictures on their pages.

  • pawikirogii

    i have a lot of respect for you, mr neff. you may believe his picture shouldn’t be displayed but i disagree. he’s a convicted murderer.

  • Sonagi

    Maybe Markle’s face will be incorporated into Pawi’s gravatar de jour.

  • pawikirogii

    you’re right.

  • seoulmilk

    RN, if you do ever find something from Lambert’s side, post it here. I don’t recall anything about this case. Very interesting.

  • DLBarch

    Like Robert, I was in Korea when this story broke, and I can say frankly that there is no way one can appreciate the heinousness of this crime without seeing the pictures. Like the photos from Abu Graib, it’s worth seeking them out.

    This story is also a useful corrective to understanding why anti-Americanism is a persistent undercurrent to Korea-U.S. relations. Too often, American expats in Korea fall into the trap of assuming that all anti-American sentiment is just the manifestation of leftist student rabble-rousers. It most definitely is not.

    There is another, more impolitic dimension to this story. The outcry over this incident was all the more amazing because it essentially involved a crime against one of Korea’s many camp-town prostitutes. If Ms. Yun had been an Ewha co-ed, the protests would have been much, much worse.


  • robert neff

    I added this link (Military Law Review 2009) concerning Markle’s American legal counsel – Lieutenant Colonel Kevin M. Boyle. He stated in an interview in 2007 that Markle had covered the body with detergent under the impression that it would act like lye and remove traces of evidence.

  • valkilmerisiceman

    Excellent post! TMH needs more stuff like this. That was a fascinating (and disturbing) read.

  • Sonagi

    Like Robert, I was in Korea when this story broke, and I can say frankly that there is no way one can appreciate the heinousness of this crime without seeing the pictures. Like the photos from Abu Graib, it’s worth seeking them out.

    I’ve seen the photos and didn’t need to. Simply reading the description of what was done to Ms. Yun was enough for me to appreciate the heinousness of the crime. Anyone not capable of feeling horror at reading about objects inserted between her legs has an undeveloped sense of empathy. As for looking at photos to “appreciate” what happened to her, well, let’s be honest: human beings have a fascination with violent images, especially those depicting real events in real time. Remember those Faces of Death videos that were popular many years ago?

  • Iceberg

    Very well done, Mr. Neff. The effort you put into this post is on full display…and appreciated.

  • DLBarch

    The photos of this crime were very much a part of the criminal trial against Markel. They are thus properly a necessary part of a complete understanding of this case. This is why DAs always present photographs of crime scenes to juries. They are meant to drive home the heinousness of crimes. It is not at all about empathy, developed or not.

    Sexual assault is a serious crime in any country, and is most certainly not rightly the subject of mere facination with images of violence. Let’s stay focused on what’s important here.


  • Sonagi

    Crime scene photos are admissible when they provide documentation of relevant evidence. Judges may disallow the presentation of photos that could prejudice the jury.

  • Anonymous Commenter

    ……the maximum punishment for murder in Korea was death. [4] Capital punishment in Korea at this time was carried out by hanging or by firing squad.

    What is the status of capital punishment today?

  • cm

    Convicted murderers read blogs too? They have internet over there in prisons?

  • pawikirogii

    he’s already out, cm. i believe his comment at rok’s place is recent.

    there’s a de facto moratorium on the carrying out of the death penalty in sk because of concerns for killing somebody innocent. that’s what i’ve read at least.

  • GI Korea

    Markle’s comment over at my place was made after he was out of prison. As I have stated to Markle and his supporters if he is innocent than why doesn’t he post the court transcripts? He has supporters posting on my site claiming they read the transcripts and believe Markle. If that is the case than why doesn’t he scan them and post them on the net for the rest of us to read? I have even offered to provide the webspace on my site to post them.

    If I was convicted of a crime I didn’t commit, I would do everything possible to prove my innocence. I just don’t get the impression that this is what Markle is doing, which leads me to believe he probably did do it.

  • tinyflowers

    maybe bluballs will take up his case

  • tinyflowers

    I agree with pawi. Why protect a convicted murderer? This guy is complete scum and a liar who tried to cover up his crimes.

  • WangKon936

    I understand that some expats may see, through him, their own difficulties and challenges with the Korean legal system, but this is a man linked to a brutal murder. He’s practically radioactive.

  • robert neff

    GI – one of the reasons I did this post was because I have been following this story since Markle was released and he made a comment on Nomad. I was also waiting for the transcripts to surface but got tired of waiting. I think my biggest complaint is everyone says the same thing in regards to him with no additional information. Most of it seems to be from the anti-American sites. He was found guilty so I can not understand why the whole story would not be there – not even on the true crime sites.

    Tiny – again, I can see your side but I won’t upload the pictures. Pawi has one as his avatar that I have never seen. He looks older in it than the ones I remember seeing in the newspapers. I know you like to dig – so why don’t you add to our knowledge of this murder – I am too tired to keep digging.

    Hamel – thanks for pointing out my poor editing and stupid mistakes but I am too tired to go back and will merely ask your indulgence.

  • hamel

    Does anybody remember an incident in 1998 or 1999 when a USFK serviceman (Air Force?) was arrested on suspicion of killing his (Korean?) wife and child(ren?) and burning their bodies on a construction site down near the Han River?

    I have searched in vain on the internet for any detail about this story – including whether he was found guilty or not.

    Can anyone help?

  • robert neff

    In January 1999, Petty Officer James Fuhrman (36) was accused and I believe convicted of beating his wife Lee Choon-ja (42) and their adopted son Bobby (4) to death and then placed them in the trunk of his car and took them to a construction site where he doused their bodies with gasoline and set them on fire. He was due to leave at the end of the month. He was also INTEL. Not sure how much that helps.

    According to this site Workers World Service, he was found guilty and sentenced to life. There is also a reference here at Killer Adopters but unfortunately the link to the article is no longer valid.

  • cm


    Does it matter if he was found guilty or not? Even if he was found guilty, he would have served his one year sentence in Korean prison, and be out by now.

  • hamel

    Thanks Robert, for that. Now get some much deserved sleep.

    cm: not sure what point you are trying to make here.

  • bulgasari

    There’s an interesting interview with a former camptown prostitute turned activist who was interviewed in the Joongang Ilbo in 2005:

    She spent her early 20s in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi province, near Camp Casey, the former home of the U.S. Army 7th Infantry Division. In 1971, when the division returned to the United States, she and other prostitutes moved to Songtan, Pyeongtaek, near Osan Air Base.
    She said government officials often came down to Songtan to give special lectures. They praised the girls as “true patriots,” or “good people who reaped dollars.”
    The issue of criminal acts by the U.S, military began to rise in 1992 when Yoon Geum-yi, a Korean bar waitress at a military club, was brutally killed. Activists then brought public attention to the issue, and anti-American sentiment grew. But Ms. Kim remained doubtful.
    “There were dozens of girls who died before Yoon Geum-yi died. But no one ever tried to help us when we called for help,” she said. “I felt that Yoon Geum-yi was just used as a tool for anti-American protests.”

  • pawikirogii

    i found the killer’s picture in th korean press.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “If I was convicted of a crime I didn’t commit, I would do everything possible to prove my innocence. ”

    Reminds me of how OJ Simpson is seaching for his wife’s murderer one golf course at a time.

  • GI Korea

    @26 – Robert I think you are saying that there may be more to this story due to a lot of information not being readily available about this crime. That may be the case but Markle sure isn’t doing much of anything to help set the record straight himself.

    For those commenting about the pictures of the crime scene, the first time I ever saw that picture was when anti-US activists were protesting outside of Camp Red Cloud and waving a sign with that picture on it. They were also waving a sign with the bodies of the two crushed girls from the 2002 accident. These people have absolutely no shame.

  • Pingback: Did Kenneth Markle or Jason Lambert Kill Korean Prostitute In 1992? | ROK Drop()


    Robert I understand you have been following this an for some unkown reason feel the need to post this. But why? Do the comments people are leaving humor you make you feel special or do you just like living off other peoples past? My name is Victoria, I am Kenneth’s fiancee. And I can honestly say im sickened with this crap. Kenneth doesnt owe any of you people anything. He has moved on with his life he paid time for what he was convicted of so why isnt that good enough for you people? He doesnt owe an explanation nor should he feel the need to post the court transcripts on here for those of you who believe he did this good for you there is no changing your mind. Whether the transcripts are posted or not noone will change their sides of this situation. Its done an over with its been how many years? let it go!!! We have. Everyone knows what they want to know an believe, in order for you to change your mind about Kenneth you would have to get to know him Personally. If you look back on the comments on RokDrop, Kenneth posted as well so did I, other supporters, an then the people who dont know anything. Who have nothing but time on their hands to degrade people. The
    “X’s” there you will see is one who supported him the whole time he was over there then when he broke up with her decided to degrade him. The other “X” defends him.
    Im just curious why anyone wants his personal information? A picture? Address? what? So you can send hate mail just like he received the 15 years he was over there? You all want to sit here an say you know he did it because he was convicted of it, Bulls@#$!! You know nothing!! You all feel the need to get on here an bash him, you dont think he got enough of that already? Again BullS#$%!! Kenneth doesnt need to explain or ask for anything from you people exspecially not forgivness or his side of the story. Enough of that has been posted on these websites.
    Pawikirogii the only thing I can even begin to say to you is “let it go” why are you so interested in what he looks like? Does that really matter you wanna see if he is your basic murder type? Looks like a murderer? And on your little comment he got off lucky? You call spending fourteen years behind bars luck for a crime you didnt commit thats your definition of luck? If he was tried in the states he would have received a fair trial, proper dna tests would have been performed, an evidence would have been used!! You are so quick to call a person a “murderer” but yet you know nothing about the case nor the trial. An to me heres the funny thing if Kenneth would have admitted and apologized for this crime he supposibly did, He would have served 4 years and been sent home with a slap on the wrist. Those are the words of his Lawyer!! But yet he served 14 years because he refused to admit to something he didnt do!! You tell me how that works?
    He owes you people nothing, setting the record straight, posting transcripts, defend himself? He doesnt need to do any of that nor should you expect him to. You want the transcripts? They are on public record in Korea go get em!! Again Robert im sorry that I might have come across rude or mean in this but you an everyone else need to realize WE are tired of it theres no sense in dwelling on the past we dont. Kenneth an I have been together for almost four years basically 3 months after he came home. We have moved past all this an when it is constantly brought to attention it really pisses me off.

  • robert neff

    #35 Enuff,
    Victoria, I read and can understand your views on the subject so perhaps I should also give mine. As I mentioned in an earlier posting – I was in Korea when the murder occurred and remember reading about it. In fact, I was at Camp Humphreys when Mr. Markle was there and I remember talking with some of the MPs about the case but I knew absolutely nothing about it. Even though the accounts were in the paper I paid very little attention.

    As a historian with a great deal of interest in Korea I am naturally drawn to stories of human interest and naturally I would gravitate to a story like this. I am a firm believer in every story has two sides and every man has a hidden past. What struck me about this story is everything found on the net repeats the same accusations/version of the story which seems to have originated with the anti-US sites. Prior to my own limited research I believed without a doubt all of the accounts I had read – that he had committed a heinous murder. It was through my desire of wanting to know more and also to provide a second side to the story that I did the research and posted it. I think I did a fairly balanced approach to it with this posting. I think that my approach has also caused some people to question what Lambert’s real role was in the events. I received an email today from someone asking me why Mr. Markle doesn’t pursue this case as it sounds like he was railroaded. Obviously I can’s answer that.

    I also see Mr. Markle’s point of view of uploading his transcripts. To be honest, I wouldn’t – I see no cause to do so other than to satisfy the morbid interest of some people (obviously I might be included in this group although I prefer to think I want to see them only to be objective). I think the sticking point is the continued reference by Mr. Markle to his claims that if we read the transcipts we would all know he is innocent – it is for this reason people keep asking to see them. As for the photographs, addresses and phone numbers – I fully agree with you.

    Do I think Mr. Markle is guilty of this crime? I have no idea. I do think he was a factor in Ms. Yun’s death whether it was through self-defense, manslaughter or murder I do not claim to know. Would things have been different if he had been tried in the United States – undoubtedly, and I think it was a shame that he was not, but I can also understand Korea’s right and need to maintain its own laws and jurisdiction. Did he pay his debt to society? He has in the regards to the law. Will this story ever go away? I doubt it. To many Koreans it has become a symbol of the evils of the US military.

    I would like to thank you for responding and hope the best for both of you.

  • Arghaeri

    “Reminds me of how OJ Simpson is seaching for his wife’s murderer one golf course at a time.”

    But then he wasn’t convicted was he!!

  • 2id93

    I was close enough to the situation to know how Lambert was able to evade prosecution all together but having read comments from enuff,
    I will just say that my personal experience with Jason Lambert has left me feeling guilty for years that more wasn’t done by our own soldiers to defend Markles innocence. I have no doubt that Markle is innocent, whatsoever.
    With respect to Ms Yun and her family, they have suffered a tragedy and deserve justice, as Markle deserves to be free of this.

  • BillyBennett

    I am more inclined to believe Markle who I know better as “Doc”. Since I too was a victim of the Korean judicial system. However unlike Doc, I was foolish enough to be intimidated into changing my plea from innocent to no-contest. And since my release from Chonan, seen no purpose in wasting time money or effort in exonerating myself. I’ve moved on with my life. I can sleep at night knowing I’m innocent. And I’m sure Doc can too. Even if somehow he was able to Exonerate himself, the damage is done and those that don’t believe he is innocent, will not waver in their beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    You obviously were not close enough to know any actual facts of the case. If you say that you do, then I know you personally. State your role in the case and I will gladly do the same. After that, we can discuss the actual facts of the case.

  • Veritas

    A sociopath who found a perfect opportunity in what he thought ‘bumf*ckin Egypt’ is who this sorry-excuse-for-skin is. The military is never a place for the elites and the conscientious; we, instead, go to a reputable college and try to establish some semblance of normalcy in this decrepit, sick world, including, and regrettably, humane treatment of these human garbage. It is an ongoing conundrum, needless to say.

    Markle was a burgeoning sociopathic killer who got too brazen too quickly, which landed him in a cushy foreign jail cell. Do your homework; inquire those around him; I bet you my 401k that the sap tortured small animals as a kid. All of the expendables enlist in the military because that is the only place where they can hide their genetic impairment from the scrutiny of the sane people.

  • 2-501

    I was stationed at Camp Humphreys from March ’93 to March ’94 and I don’t remember hearing one word about any of this. A soldier in my company was murdered while I was stationed there, beat up and thrown into a ‘turtle ditch’ and drowned. When I left there in March ’94 there hadn’t been anyone charged with the murder, and as far as I know no one ever was. If our own investigators couldn’t figure out who commited a murder on the installation, how in the hell could they be expected to figure out a murder that happened in the ville. I don’t know how it is over there now, but back then alcohol, prostitution, and violence were rampet. I’m surprised there wasn’t a murder every weekend. I’m not trying to justify this murder, but anyone that ever experienced that place knows how easy it could have been to get caught up in somethign like this.

  • scott autry

    It’s been awhile since I ran across this case, but I was involved over at GI Korea’s when Markle made his comments.

    I can’t understand the people who say with any conviction he must be innocent because the other guy looks sure to have done it.

    You see this finger pointing in many trials. Just reading the news items and what the actual people have written or been quoted as saying, I don’t see how Markle could get more benefit of the doubt than the other guy.

    She attacked him and he hit her in the head with a bottle and was unconscious and bleeding but alive and he was just trying to help her and left with her still alive????

    It seems to me this is just a typical case of someone seeing pieces of evidence stacked against him and only admitting the parts he sees he can’t get away with denying in court…

    The only items we get about anybody else almost exclusively come from Markle’s mouth. I can’t picture why any reasonable person could point a finger away from Markle to someone else, and just given the “I hit her in the head to protect myself” I have zero trouble with the fact he went to jail.

    – one thing about this case, I could not fathom, when I read about it years later, how my students in the late 1990s could claim with such conviction and anger, NO GIs EVER face Korean justice and just fly away home. This story was huge and the man was convicted by a Korean court and went to jail…

    – If the murderer had been Korean, it would have been little news.

    – in fact, by the late 1990s and early 2000s, other GI prostitute murders got little attention but the 2001 Yongsan mortuary dumping case was so widely covered, it spawned a big budget horror movie….

  • Noble Conner

    I was stationed with Markle, same Company HHC 5/20 INF (M). I never saw any of the drama with his superiors and or disrespect they speak of. I dealt with him personally many a time at Sick call and around our barracks. I beleive he was coarsed into signing a confession he couldnt read or understand. The guy was in the wrong place at the worng time. The Girl that was killed was always in the crown club causing drama and making trouble for people. I am not saying what happened was justified. I am saying that people must learn to carry themselves accordingly. Alot of young men went over there and soldiered and alot went over there and Partied, I did both, My ex wife knew the girl that was killed and I was close to alot of her friends., A young life lost over drama and alcohol. May she Rest in Peace and my Markle find peace in the rest of his days on this earth, We will never know what happened that night. Only God Lambert and Markle do.. Some one will answer for it when their final day comes.

  • Noble Conner

    I agree

  • cqn0

    Interesting development: one Kenneth Markle, of Lackawanna (a Buffalo suburb), NY was sentenced to 7 years in prison for beating his wife in April 2014:

    > Prosecutors said Markle turned off all the lights in his apartment on Magnolia Street that evening and waited for his wife, then hit her in the head with a baseball bat and choked her.

    Although there’s no way to be sure it’s the same Kenneth Markle as this one, the ages certainly match up – the Markle in Korea was 20 at the time of the Yun Kum-i incident (1992), while the Markle in Lackawanna is 42 in 2014.

  • Robert Neff

    Thanks for the update

  • china jo

    If you were innocent, you could go back and reopen the case. If Lambert was the real killer, he should pay for his crime.